Peer-to-Peer Outreach and Promotion

Peer-to-Peer Outreach and Promotion

Michelle Twait (Gustavus Adolphus College, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3914-8.ch015
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This chapter offers both examples and recommendations for involving undergraduate students in academic library outreach efforts. Librarians at Gustavus Adolphus College employ a variety of methods for connecting with undergraduate students through their peers. Specifically, an internship program is described, along with initiatives developed through collaboration with student organizations on campus. In addition, the relationship between outreach efforts and the educational mission of academic libraries is discussed.
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Building community through collaboration with undergraduate students can take many forms, ranging from purely social events to more academic or instruction-related initiatives and everything in between. Many libraries work closely with student affairs personnel to plan events or promote services; for example, collaborating with the student activities office when planning new student orientation. Likewise, libraries may coordinate with admissions staff to offer training sessions or provide information for campus tour guides. Often, librarians utilize their own peer networks to reach students, working with faculty and staff members. As more libraries develop peer-to-peer service models, perhaps it is worth exploring other opportunities to engage students in library outreach and promotion efforts. The Gustavus library has taken steps toward facilitating peer-to-peer outreach by creating undergraduate internship programs and developing relationships with student organizations.

While much of the literature on library internships has focused on graduate student interns, Dahl (2011a, 2011b) describes an internship program for undergraduate students in an English honors program, including detailed information on the creation of such a program and supervision of interns. Similarly, an undergraduate internship program at Brigham Young University introduces students to librarianship, along with special collections and archival work (Kopp & Murphy, 2012; Smith, 2010). Other libraries have designed undergraduate internship programs for minority students that are intended to help recruit a diverse group of future librarians (Angell, Evans, & Nicolas, 2012; Asher & Alexander, 2006). A librarian at the University of Washington recruited business majors for a library internship program in which the students created tutorials, designed research guides, and offered peer tutoring (Harwood & McCormack, 2008). Musselman Library at West Chester University offers undergraduate internship programs in music, reference, and special collections; Sestrick and Terjesen (2014) describe the structure of the internships, along with qualitative data from former interns. Brown and Murphy (2005) studied the internship experiences of students enrolled in an undergraduate information studies program at the University of Oklahoma. The University of Pittsburgh library system has also engaged undergraduate students in library projects, including history majors hired to edit Wikipedia articles related to the university’s digital collections and primary source material (Galloway & DellaCorte, 2014).

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